2Taps Wine Bar, 30-42 Waring Street, Belfast. Tel: 02890 311414
Confession time. Until I ate there last month, I had 2Taps down as a plastic tapas type-of-place, somewhere more adept at rinsing the Cathedral Quarter crowd than providing good Spanish food.
Well, how wrong I was. As humiliations go, mine is now complete with a public admission that the meal I had there was one of the best of the year. Authentic? Yep. Tasty? You betcha. Value for money? Si, si and si again.
My Spend Local card was very happily wiped out during a great evening that saw six beautiful and plentiful tapas demolished along with two huge desserts.
With more than 40 savoury dishes to chose from, the menu really does have something for everyone. It is conveniently broken down into nine sections — breads/platters, meat, fish, vegetarian, salads, larger paellas which take longer to cook, kids and vegan options and the aforementioned desserts.
The food is served when it comes out of the oven or off the stove, a style that I have grown fond of and which you find all over Spain.
The classics are all there — patatas bravas, langoustines, calamari, chorizo cooked in red wine — and what’s more, they’re treated with a whole lot of love.
Six tapas is more than enough for two to share or fight over, with our selections mixing the Med with the rest of Europe.
First up, representing the non-Spanish corner, was chilli beef encased in a light puff pastry with a spicy tomato sauce and melted cheddar. It reminded me of a bolognese pie — not a bad thing. It was back to the Costa with tapas two, chorizo sausage seared in a pan and finished with a red wine reduction.
North Africa got a look in next in the shape of a wonderful lamb tagine that was packed full of cumin, cinnamon and paprika, with bursts of dry fruit cutting through the meat.
The Med then made a return with tapas four of goat’s cheese wrapped in Serrano ham and served with a balsamic salad. We happily stayed in Spain for the remaining two courses of wonderfully sweet langoustines and the time-honoured spicy patatas bravas.
Greed and the fact Stormont was paying for the meal meant desserts were also ordered, even though my stomach lining was begging me to stop.
The spoonfuls that I did manage to eat from a huge crème Catalana were excellent. The mind may have been willing, but alas the body didn’t want to know and I gave up halfway through.
Service throughout the night was also first class, and credit to the management for making diners feel they are in a Covid-safe space, with mask wearing enforced.
So, put away any pre-conceived notions you may have about 2Taps. Yes, the Cathedral Quarter is a tourist trap which can seem a little bit plasticky, but not this restaurant, which really is magnifico.
Goat’s cheese and ham£5
Creme Catalana x2£13